It is only in modern times that women’s power has been questioned. Throughout history, women have wielded such force as to generate dynasties; not only influencing history but creating it.
From Mary Magdalene, Cleopatra, Lady Gaga, Justice Sotomayor and the Amazon WonderWoman, we wield power.
Let’s define power: ability to act or produce an effect; the ability to direct or influence.
“The ability to produce an effect” power is not solely about using brute force, but the ability to persuade, influence, direct. Period. To produce an effect.
For hundreds of years, women have influenced with their bodies, beauty and minds.
Just like MEN; the peacock too, flares his plumage.
Yet women are somehow “less” because we are “too girly;” the dress is “too tight;” the make-up is “too much;” or the shoes are “too high.” Apparently, we are just “too much” when we showcase our femininity.
High School girls are disproportionately dress-coded (the action of requesting a student change or cover-up if not abiding by the stated dress code) because they are deemed distracting. Research on dress codes remains inconclusive, but recent grassroot studies, such as the Homestead School polled students and 85% of girls said that they have been reprimanded for dress code violations while only 25% of the males have been dress-coded.
Is the siren call of the bared shoulder or silhouetted body so powerfully distracting?
Women have always been categorized and judged for their external attributes – is it unlikely that we learn to thrive in that environment and modify that qualifier to suit our personalities? I’ve learned that my shape is better suited to tailored dresses; my comfort, confidence and performance improve when I’m dressed this way. Just like an athlete wearing a form-fitting, sweat-whisking uniform, it’s part of her repertoire of tools.
Am I less intelligent because I enjoy fashion? Am I too distracting when wearing clothing that becomes my body-type and shape? Oh wait, I have curves. Serious curves and long curly hair, riotously tumbling around my above- average brain. Does that make me less intelligent and impede my ability to process and function? Yes, I wear heels, funky jewelry, bright lipstick and simultaneously, I’m considered thought- leader, influencer and a strategist.
I am both, a woman and a powerhouse. Neither is mutually exclusive and society shouldn’t condone the imbalance of said factors.
Alternately, I know that my audience (whoever is the recipient of my message, whether one on one meeting, keynoting, or staff meeting) should be able to focus on my message.
Would they listen as acutely if I were wearing a transparent cat suit?
If I were wearing a shapeless potato sack?
My words and messages are also powerful. The exterior, the looks and attire, are a bonus, one of my tools, like the bilingualism, like the graduate degree, and my life experiences. The message and the delivery; the content internally and externally, are the full package, both complimentary to the outcome: The Ability to Produce an Effect.
Women don’t lose power because we are women, I believe we are powerful BECAUSE we are women. We need to own this strength by remembering our worth, our value, or contributions.
Of course, our beauty does adorn the universe… Just like the beauty found in the male form and in nature, not just exclusively attributed to females.
And if our power were ever in question, remember who creates life. Mic drop.